Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Crew rate slight edge to overturn RSL lead
by Ridge Mahoney, November 5th, 2009 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PREDICTION] Coach Robert Warzycha benched Guillermo Barros Schelotto and went defensive in the first leg of this Eastern Conference semifinal series. Schelotto is expected to start the second leg, which will also be the second game of Chad Marshall's return following a six-week layoff with a sprained knee. Here's why the defending champ can overcome a 1-0 deficit from the first leg. ...

THURSDAY
Eastern Conference semifinal, second leg
COLUMBUS vs. REAL SALT LAKE (RSL leads, 1-0); 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2 ESPN Deportes

If class prevails, the Crew should overturn the one-goal disadvantage and advance. But the defending champion hasn't scored more than one goal in its past seven games (all competitions), since beating the Galaxy, 2-0, at home Sept. 26. It has won by at least two goals six times this season.

RSL has more than a puncher's chance despite its horrible 2-11-2 road mark. It has shut out the Galaxy (2-0) and Kansas City (1-0) for its two away victories, and also played a 0-0 tie at D.C. United.

Of the midfielders expected to play, Kyle Beckerman is the most active and best two-way performer: if he's cutting off passes and playing early balls to his attackers, the Crew may not get enough chances, even with a rested - and a bit ticked off - Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the team's top scorer with 12 goals - buzzing about. Forward Steven Lenhart threatened occasionally in the first leg even with limited service, and though Alejandro Moreno is more experienced, he's scored only one goal in 19 postseason matches. (However, he's also logged six assists, and won three MLS titles with three different teams.)

While Crew centerbacks Chad Marshall and Eric Brunner must certainly be wary of balls played over their heads or between them for Robbie Findley and Yura Movsisyan to turn into goals, the critical dynamics will play out in midfield.

In the first leg, Robbie Rogers did a fair share of defensive work on the left side; he'll be pushed forward in search of chances this time around, leaving center mids Danny O'Rourke (or Adam Moffat) and Brian Carroll to limit the service of Javier Morales, Andy Williams and Beckerman.

Will the pivotal moment be what Schelotto or Williams can produce on a set play?

The outside backs will also bear watching. Frankie Hedjuk's blitzkrieg runs from behind midfielder Eddie Gaven can produce with determination and speed what precision and patience may not. Or will Crew left back Gino Padula's passes to Rogers and Schelotto and unhinge RSL's back line, whose cornermen Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran, as well as goalie Nick Rimando, will be severely tested?

This game might go to the team that scores first; either RSL will have a two-goal edge, or the Crew would be even and riding the momentum. If somebody scores, that is.
Prediction: Crew 3, RSL 1 (agg: 3-2).

RIDGE MAHONEY'S PLAYOFF PREDICTION RECORD SO FAR: 2-2.

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Rapinoe leads Reign FC to second NWSL Shield    
Seattle Reign FC clinched its second straight NWSL regular-season championship when it defeated the last-place Boston ...
Vancouver Whitecaps end curse with first Canadian title    
Runners-ups five out of the last six seasons, the Vancouver Whitecaps seemed to be cursed in ...
What They're Saying: Wayne Rooney    
"I wasn't worried -- if it was going on for three, four or five games more, ...
Wednesday night: Sounders first MLS team to fall in CCL    
A week after the Seattle Sounders rallied from 1-0 in the 90th minute to beat Olimpia, ...
Retiring Dunivant fine about not making headlines    
Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant, one of just four players to win five or more league titles, ...
Wednesday night: Last-place MLS teams sweep    
Chicago and Colorado, last in the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively, both won on Wednesday night ...
USL Roundup: Heath praises Louisville City after friendly    
A Louisville City record crowd of 9,434 and a 3-1 victory by the USL expansion team ...
Mexico calls up Torres for Olympic qualifying camp    
Houston forward Erick "Cubo" Torres is among the players summoned by Mexico for a training camp ...
What They're Saying: Matt Miazga    
"Since I was 13 coming up through this system, the dream for every kid in the ...
U.S. Abroad: Zelalem impresses in Rangers debut    
Gedion Zelalem's tenure at famed Glaswegian club Rangers began on a positive note as the 18-year-old ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives